Matthew Syed (Richmond, Surrey) will definitely be the only British player competing in the Sydney Olympics, following Carl Prean (Ryde, Isle of Wight) and Alex Perry (Crediton, Devon) failing to get through the ‘last chance’ final World Olympic Qualifying tournament at Seville, Spain.

Both Prean and Perry were unfortunate not to get though their groups. Having comfortably beaten three opponents, Mohammed El-Sharkawi (Liberia), Ricardo Oliverira (Portugal) and Adam Lindner (Hungary), Prean unfortunately injured his right knee whilst playing Norwegian Istvan Moldovan and unexpectedly went down 19-21 in the fifth game. He still would have gone through to the knockout stage had he a achieved an anticipated win over Italian Massimiliano Mondello, but 32 year old Prean, who was probably making the last Olympic bid of his long career, was forced to withdraw owing to the injury.

Fighting a rising fever, Alex Perry, 24, defeated Daniel Torres (Spain), Jerome Raison (Luxembourg) and Diego Ramirez Valencia (Columbia) but lost to the powerful Pole, Marcim Kusinski. But in the crucial set (to go through the group) against the no.5 seed Konstadin Lengerov (Austria), he played extremely well and had 2 game points at 20-18 up in the third game for a 2-1 lead. Lengerov saved these and went 21-20 ahead, when he then produced a highly dubious serve to give him that game Perry said that the serve was, ‘totally illegal and unplayable and one that he had not produced before. I protested but the umpires did not see it. I was very angry because it could have cost me the match. Later on Lengerov was called up 8 or 9 times for this service.’ Lengerov beat Perry 21-19, 20-22, 22-20, 21-12 and went to take the first reserve/replacement place for the Olympics.

10th World Veterans Championships, Vancouver, Canada

Pam Butcher from Meopham, Kent, was England’s only medallist from the World Veteran’s Championships, Vancouver, Canada, winning gold in the women’s over 70’s doubles.

For further information contact Ken Muhr, ETTA Information Officer, Tel. 01424 722525 Fax. 01424 42203